This week during the new student medallion ceremony, the president gave a David Letterman Top Ten list theme address titled: The 10 Keys to Academic Success. As I listened to the list, it became apparent that it applies to life in general and not just to college success.
Here’s my take on his list:
1. Never have a closed mind — Learning is a life long process. If you’re not learning, then you’re not growing.
2. Study like your life depended on it — or work like your life depends on it, because usually it does, especially if you’re the breadwinner for yourself or family.
3. View the next few years as a license to explore the world, and not a prison center — this should definitely apply to everyday life! TRAVEL!! Experiencing different places, cultures, people teach you more about yourself. If you are going to work everyday, find ways to grow in what you are doing especially if professional development opportunities are available because they usually give you a chance to travel.
4. Ask questions when you think you know the answer and especially when you don’t — I used to stand by the idea that no question is a dumb or stupid question, but after teaching for 4 years I have to disagree. However, my joy of teaching is renewed every time I have a student who asks a question for clarification. So, in everything you do, ask questions. Some times you can gain additional relevant knowledge by asking a question that leads to an entirely different conversation.
5. View higher education as an ocean to explore but always have an anchor to hold you grounded — the same thing for your job/career. Again, look for opportunities to grow, where you can be impactful or of service to others. I find that I am the most grounded when I am helping others.
6. Read, read and read again — there’s always something to learn…there are countless youtube videos, audiobooks and other tools that will assist in gaining knowledge.
7. Make at least 1 friend who will last you a lifetime — Networking is the key to success. I have always been told that If I am the smartest one in my inner circle, then I need a new circle.
8. Take control of your educational success and don’t depend exclusively on anyone else — take control of your life. Ideas listed above will keep you prepared to make the decisions needed to move forward in your life.
9. Have fun and laugh a lot. Never forget to have fun! — Enough said.
10. Pay your tuition — Well, pay your debts! Build your credit score and assets instead of additional expenses. Live on a cash flow instead of credit.